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名著故事三十五篇Thirty-five Famous Stories  

2009-01-05 00:31:25|  分类: 美文欣赏 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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1.King Alfred and the Cakes

Many years ago there lived in England a wise and good king whose name was Alfred. No other man ever did so much for his country as he; and people now, all over the world, speak of him as Alfred the Great. In those days a king did not have a very easy life. There was war almost all the time, and no one else could lead his army into battle so well as he. And so, between ruling and fighting, he had a busy time of it indeed. A fierce, rude people, called the Danes, had come from over the sea, and were fighting the English. There were so many of them, and they were so bold and strong, that for a long time they gained every battle. If they kept on, they would soon be the masters of the whole country. At last, after a great battle, the English army was broken up and scattered. Every man had to save himself in the best way he could. King Alfred fled alone, in great haste, through the woods and swamps. Late in the day the king came to the hut of a woodcutter. He was very tired and hungry, and he begged the woodcutter’s wife to give him something to eat and a place to sleep in her hut. The woman was baking some cakes upon the hearth, and she looked with pity upon the poor, ragged fellow who seemed so hungry. She had no thought that he was the king. “Yes,” she said, “I will give you some supper if you will watch these cakes. I want to go out and milk the cow; and you must see that they do not burn while I am gone.” King Alfred was very willing to watch the cakes, but he had far greater things to think about. How was he going to get his army together again? And how was he going to drive the fierce Danes out of the land? He forgot his hunger; he for got the cakes; he forgot that was in the woodcutter’s hut. His mind was busy making plans for tomorrow. In a little while the woman came back. The cakes were smoking on the hunger; he for got the cakes; he forgot that he was in the woodcutter’s hut. His mind was busy making plans for tomorrow. In a little while the woman came back. The cakes were smoking on the hearth. They were burned to a crisp. Ah, how angry she was! “You lazy fellow!” she cried. “See what you have done! You want something to eat, but you do not want to work!” I have been told that she even struck the king with a stick; but I can hardly believe that she was so illnatured. The king must have laughed to himself at the thought of being scolded in this way; and he was so hungry that he did not mind the woman’s angry words half so much as the loss of the cakes. I do not know whether he had anything to eat that night, or whether he had to go to bed without his supper. But it was not many days until he had gathered his men together again, and had beaten the Danes in great battle.


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2.King Alfred and the Beggar

At one tine Danes drove King Alfred form his kingdom, and he had to lie hidden for a ling time on a little island in a river. One day, all who were on the island, except the king and queen and one servant, went out to fish. It was a very lonely place, and no one could get to it except by a boat. About noon, a ragged beggar came to the king’s door. And asked for food. The king called the servant, and asked, “How much food have we in the house?’’ “ My lord,” said the servant, “ we have only one loaf and a little wine.” Then the king gave thanks to God, and said, “Give half of the loaf and half of the wine to this poor man.” The servant did as he was bidden. The beggar thanked the king for his kindness, and went on his way. In the afternoon the men who had gone out to fish came back. They had three boats full of fish, and they said, “We have caught more fish today than in all the other days that we have been on this island.” The king was glad, and he and his people were more hopeful than they had ever been before. When night came, the king lay awake for a long time, and thought about the things that had happened that day. At last he fancied that he saw a great light like the sun; and in the midst of the light there stood an open book in his hand. It may all have been a dream, and yet to the king it seemed very real indeed. He looked and wondered, but was not afraid “Who are you?’’ he asked of the old man. “Alfred, my son, be brave,” said the man, “for I am the one to whom you gave this day the half of all the food that you had. Be strong and joyful of heart, and listen to what I say.” Rise up early in the morning and blow your horn three times so loudly that the Danes may hear it. By nine o’clock, five hundred men will be around you, ready be led into battle. Go forth bravely, and within seven days your enemies shall be beaten, and you shall go back to your kingdom to reign in peace.” Then the light went out, and the man was seen no more. In the morning the king arose early, and crossed over to the mainland. Then he blew his horn three times very loudly; and when his friends heard it they were glad, but the Danes were filled with fear. At nine o’clock, five hundred of his bravest soldiers stood around him ready for battle. He spoken, and told them what he had seen and heard in his dream; and when he had finished, they all cheered loudly, and said that they would follow him and fight for him as long as they had strength. So they went out bravely to battle; and they beat the Danes, and drove them back into their own place. And King Alfred ruled wisely and well over all his people for the rest of his days.


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3.Diogenes the Wise Man

At Corinth, in Greece, there lived a very wise man whose name was Diogenes. Men came from all parts of the land to see him and hear him talk. But wise as he was, he had some very queer ways. He did not believe that any man ought to have more things than he really needed; and he said that no man needed much. And so he did not live in a house, but slept in a tub or barrel, which he rolled about from place to place. He spent his days sitting in the sun, and saying wise things to those who were around him. At noon one day, Diogenes was seen walking through the streets with a lighted lantern, and looking all around as if in search of something. “ Why do you carry a lantern when the sun is shining?” someone said. “I am looking for an honest man,” answered Diogenes. When Alexander the Great went to Corinth, all the foremost men in the city came out to see him and to praise him. But Diogenes did not come; and he was the only man for whose opinions Alexander cared. And so, since the wise man would not some to see the king, the king went to see wise man. He found Diogenes in an out-of-the-way place, lying on the ground by his tub. He was enjoying the heat and the light of the sun. When he saw the king and a great many people coming, he sat up and looked at Alexander. Alexander greeted him and said,--- “Diogenes, I have heard a great deal about your wisdom. Is there anything that I can do for you?” “Yes,” said Diogenes. “You can stand a little on one side, so as not to keep the sunshine from me.” This answer was so different from what he expected, that the king was much surprised. But it did not make him angry; it only made him admire the strange man all the more. When he turned to ride back, he said to his officers,--- “Say what you will; if I were not Alexander. I would like to be Diogenes.”


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4. King Canute on the Seashore

   A hundred years or more after the time of Alfred the great there was a king of England named Canute. King Canute was a Dane; but the Danes were not so fierce and cruel then as they had been when they were at war with king Alfred. The great men and officers who were around king Canute were always praising him. “You are the greatest man that ever lived,” one would say. Then another would say. “O king ! There can never be another man so mighty as you. ”Great Canute, there is nothing in the world that dares to disobey you.” The king was a man of sense, and he grew very tired of hearing such foolish speeches. One day he was by the seashore, and his officers were with him. They were praising him, as they were in the habit of doing. He thought that now he would teach them a lesson, and so he bade them set his chair on the beach close by the edge of the water. “Am I the greatest man in the world?” he asked. “O king!” they cried, “there is no on one mighty as you.” “Do all things by me?” he asked. “There is nothing that dares to disobey you. O king!” they said. “The world bows before you, and gives you honor.” “Will the sea obey me?” he asked; and he looked down at the little waves which were lapping the sand at his feet. The foolish officers were puzzled, but they did not dare to say “no.” “Command it, O king! And it will obey,” said one. “Sea,” cried Canute, “I command you to come no farther! Waves, stop your rolling, and do not dare to touch my feet!” but the tide came in, just as it always did. The water rose higher and higher. It came up around the king’s chair, and wet not only his feet, but also his robe. His officers stood about him. Alarmed, and wondering whether he was not mad. Then Canute took off his crown, and threw it down upon the sand. “I shall never wear it again,” he said. “And do you, my men, learn a lesson from what you have seen. There is only one king who is allpowerful; and it is he who rules the sea, and holds the ocean in the hollow of his hands. It is he whom you ought to praise and serve above all others.”

      


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       5. Androclus and the Lion

In Rome there was once a poor slave whose name was Androclus. His master was a cruel man, and so unkind to him that at last Androclus ran away. He hid himself hid himself in a wild wood for many days” but there was no food to be found, and he grew so weak and sick that he thought he should die. So one day he crept into a cave and lay down, and soon he was fast asleep. After a while a great noise woke him up. A lion had come into the cave, and was roaring loudly. Androclus was very much afraid, for he felt sure that the beast would kill him. Soon, however, he saw that the lion was not angry, but that he limped as though his foot hurt him. Then Androclus grew so bold that he took hold of the lion’s lame paw to see what was the matter. The lion stood quite still, and rubbed his head against the man’s shoulder. He seemed to say,--- “I know that you will help me.” Androclus lifted the paw from the ground, and saw that it was a long, sharp thorn which hurt the lion so much. He took the end of the thorn in his fingers; then he gave a strong, quick pull, and out it came. The lion was full of joy. He jumped about like a dog, and licked the hands and feet of his new friend. Androclus was not at all afraid after this; and when night came, he and the lion lay down and slept side by side. For a long time, the lion brought food to Androclus every day; and the two became such good friends, that Androclus found his new life a very happy one. One day some soldiers who were passing through the wood found Androclus in the cave. They knew who he was, and so took him back to Rome. It was the law at that time that every slave who ran away from his master should be made to fight a hungry lion. So a fierce lion was shut up for a while without food, and a time was set for the fight. When the day came, thousands of people crowded to see the sport. They went to see places at that time very much as people nowadays go to see a circus show or a game of baseball. The door opened, and poor Androclus was brought in. he was almost dead with fear, for the roars of the lion could already be heard. He looked up, and saw that there was no pity in the thousands of faces around him. Then the hungry lion rushed in with a single bound he reached the poor slave. Androclus gave a great cry, not of fear, but of gladness. It was his old friend, the lion of the cave. The people, who had expected to see the man killed by the lion, were filled with wonder. They saw Androclus put his arms around the lion’s neck; they saw the lion lie down at his feet, and lick them lovingly; they saw the great beast rub his head against the slave’s face as though he wanted to be petted. They could not understand what it all meant. After a while they asked Androclus to tell them about it. So he stood up before them. And. With his arm around the lion’s neck, told how he and the beast had lived together in the cave. “I am a man,” he said; “but no man has ever befriended me. This poor lion alone has been kind to me; and we love each other as brothers.” The people were not so bad that they could be cruel to the poor slave now. “Live and be free!” they cried. “Live and be free!” others cried, “Let the lion go free too! Give both of them their liberty!” and so Androclus was set free, and the lion was given to him for his own. And they lived together in Rome for many years.


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6.The Blind Men and the Elephant

There were once six blind men who stood by the roadside every day, and begged from the people who passed. They had often heard of elephants, but they had never seen one; for, being blind, how could they? It so happened one morning that an elephant was driven down the road where they stood. When they were told that the great beast was before them, they asked the driver to let him stop so that they might see him. Of course they could not see him with their eyes; but they thought that by touching him they could learn just what kind of animal he was. The first one happened to put his hand on the elephant’s side. “Well, well!” he said, “now I know all about this beast. He is exactly like a wall.” The second felt only of the elephant’s tusk. “My brother,” he said, “you are mistaken. He is not at all like a wall. He is round and smooth and sharp. He is more like a spear than anything else.” The third happened to take hold of the elephant’s trunk. “Both of you are wrong,” he said. ”Anybody who knows anything can see that this elephant is like a snake.” The fourth reached out his arms, and grasped one of the elephant’s legs. “Oh, how blind you are!” he said. “It is very plain to me that he is round and tall like a tree.” The fifth was a very tall man, and he chanced to take hold of the elephant’s ear. “The blindest man ought to know that this beast is not like any of the things that you name,” he said. “He is exactly like a huge fan.” The sixth was very blind indeed, and it was some time before he could find the elephant at all. At last he seized the animal’s tail. “O, foolish fellows!” he cried. “You surely have lost your senses. This elephant is not like a wall, or a spear, or a snake, or a tree; neither is he like a fan. But any man with a particle of sense can see that he is exactly like a rope.” Then the elephant moved on, and the six blind men sat by the roadside all day, and quarreled about him. Each believed that he knew just how the animal looked; and each called the others hard names because they did not agree with him. People who have eyes sometimes act as foolishly.


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7. Grace Darling

  It was a dark September morning. There was a storm at sea. A ship had been driven on a low rock off the shores of the Farne islands. It had been broken in two by the waves, and half of it had been washed away. The other half lay yet on the rock, and those of the crew who were still alive were clinging to it. But the waves were dashing over it, and in a little while it too would be carried to the bottom. Could anyone save the poor. Half-drowned men who were there? On one of the islands was a lighthouse; and there, all through that stormy night, grace darling had listened to the storm. Grace was the daughter of the lighthouse keeper, and she had lived by the sea as long as she could remember. In the darkness of the night, above the noise of the winds and waves, she heard screams and wild cries. When daylight came, she could see the wreck, a mile away, with the angry waters all around it. She could see the men clinging to the masts. “we  try to save them!” she cried. “Let us go out in the boat at once!” “It is of no use, grace,” said her father. “We cannot reach them.” He was an old man, and he knew the force of the mighty waves. “We cannot stay here and see them die,” said Grace. “We must at least try to save them.” Her father could not say “No.” in a few minutes they were ready. They set off in the heavy lighthouse boat. And they made straight toward the wreck. But it was hard rowing against such a sea, and it seemed as though they would never reach the place. At last they were close to the rock, and now they were in greater danger than before. The fierce waves broke against the boat, and it would have been dashed in pieces, had it not been for the strength and skill of the brave girl. But after many trials, grace’s father climbed upon the wreck, while grace herself held the boat. Then one by one the worn-out crew were helped on board. It was all that the girl could do to keep the frail boat from being drifted away, or broken upon the sharp edges of the rock. Then her father clambered back into his place. Strong hands grasped the oars, and by and by all were safe in the lighthouse. There grace proved to be no less tender as a nurse than she had been brave as a sailor. She cared most kindly for the shipwrecked men until the storm had died away and they were strong enough to go to their own homes. All this happened a long time ago, but the name of grace darling will never be forgotten she lies buried now in a little churchyard by the sea, not far from her old home. Every yea a monument has been placed in honor of the brave girl. It is not a large monument, but it is one that speaks of the noble deed which made grace darling famous. It is a figure carved in stone of a woman lying at rest, with a boat’s oar held fast in her right hand.

 


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8.Cornelia's Jewels

It was a bright morning in the old city of Rome many hundred years ago. In a vine-covered summer house in a beautiful garden, two boys were standing. They were looking at their mother and her friend, who were walking among the flowers and trees.

“Did you ever see so handsome a lady as our mother’s friend?” asked the younger boy, holding his tall brother’s hand. “She looks like a queen.” “Yet she is not so beautiful as our mother,” said the older boy. “She has a fine dress, it is true; but her face is not noble and kind. It is our mother who is like a queen.” “That is true,” said the other. There is no woman in Rome so much like a queen as our own dear mother.” Soon Cornelia, their mother, came down the walk to speak with them. She was simply dressed in a plain white robe. Her arms and feet were bare, as was the custom in those days; and no rings nor chains glittered about her hands and neck. For her only crown, long braids of soft brown hair were coiled about her head; and a tender smile lighted up her noble face as she looked into her sons’ proud eyes.

“Boys,” she said, “I have something to tell you.” They bowed before her, as Roman lads were taught to do, and said, “What is it, mother?” “You are to dine with us today, here in the garden; and then our friend is going to show us that wonderful casket of jewels of which you have heard so much.” The brothers looked shyly at their mother’s friend. Was it possible that she had still other rings besides those on her fingers? Could she have other gems besides those which sparkled in the chains about her neck? When the simple outdoor meal was over, a servant brought the casket from the house. The lady opened it. Ah, how those jewels dazzled the eyes of the wondering boys!your gems.” I am sure that the boys never forgot their mother’s pride and love and care; and in after years, when they had become great men in Rome, they often thought of this scene in the garden. And the world still likes to hear the story of Cornelia’s jewels.


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     9. Three Men of Gotham

 there is a town in England called Gotham, and many merry stories are told of the queer people who used to live there. One day two men of Gotham met on a bridge. Hodge was coming from the market, and peter was going to the market. “Where are you going?” said Hodge. “I am going to the market to but sheep,” said peter. “Buy sheep?” said Hodge. “And which way will you bring them home?” “I shall bring them over this bridge,” said peter. “No, you shall not,” said Hodge. “Yes, but I will” said peter. “You shall not,” said Hodge. “I will,” said peter. Then they beat with their sticks on the ground as though there had been a hundred sheep between them. “Take care!” cried peter. “Look out that my sheep don’t jump on the bridge.” “I care not where they jump,” said Hodge; “but they shall not go over it.” “But they shall.” Said peter. “Have a care,” said Hodge; “for if you say too much, I will put my fingers in your mouth.” “Will you?” said peter. Just then another man of Gotham came from the market with a sack of meal on his horse. He heard his neighbors quarreling about sheep; but he could see no sheep between them, and so he stopped and spoke to them. “ah, you foolish fellows!” he cried. “It is strange that you will never learn wisdom.---come here, peter, and help me lay my sack on my shoulder.” Peter did so, and the man carried his meal to the side of the bridge. “Now look at me,” he said, “and learn a lesson.” And he opened the mouth of the sack, and poured all the meal into the river. “Now, neighbors,” he said, “can you tell how much meal is in my sack?” “There is none at all!” cried Hodge and peter together. “You are right,” said the man; “and you that stand here and quarrel about nothing, have no more sense in you r heads than I have meal in my sack!”


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10. Sir Philip Sidney

A cruel battle was being fought. The ground was covered with dead and dying men. The air was hot and stifling. The sun shone down without pity on the wounded soldiers lying in the blood and dust. One of these soldiers was a nobleman, whom everybody loved for his gentleness and kindness. Yet now he was no better off than the poorest man in the field. He had been wounded, and would die; and he was suffering much with pain and thirst. When the battle was over, his friends hurried to his aid. A soldier came running with a cup in his hand. “Here, Sir Philip,” he said, “I have brought you some clear, cool water from the brook. I will raise your so that you can drink.” The cup was placed to Sir Philip’s lips. How thankfully he looked at the man who had brought it!Then his eyes met those of a dying soldier who was lying on the ground close by. The wistful look in the poor man’s face spoke plainer than words. “Give the water to that man,” said Sir Philip quickly; and then, pushing the cup toward him, he said, “ Here, my comrade, take this. Thy need is greater than mine.” What a brave, noble man he was!The name of Sir Philip Sidney will never be forgotten; for it was the name of a Christian gentleman who always had the good of others in his mind. Was it any wonder that everybody wept when it was heard that he was dead? It is said, that on the day when he was carried to the grave, every eye in the land was filled with tears. Rich and poor, high and low, all felt that they had lost a friend; all mourned the death of the kindest, gentlest man that they had ever known. A cruel battle was being fought. The ground was covered with dead and dying men. The air was hot and stifling. The sun shone down without pity on the wounded soldiers lying in


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11.Pocahontas

There was once a very brave man whose name was John Smith. He came to America many years ago, when there were great woods everywhere, and many wild beasts and Indians. Many tales are told of his adventures, some of them true and some of them untrue. The most famous of all these is the following: ---One day when Smith was in the woods, some Indians came upon him, and made him their prisoner. They led him to their king, and in a short time they made ready to put him to death. A large stone was brought in, and Smith was made to lie down with his head on it. Then two tall Indians with big clubs in their hands came forward. The king and all his great men stood around to see. The Indians raised their Smith’ s head. But just then a little Indian girl rushed in. She was the daughter of the king, and her name was Pocahontas. She ran and threw herself between Smith and the uplifted clubs. She clasped Smith’ s head with her arms. She laid her own head upon his. “ O father! ” she cried, “ spare this man’ s life. I am sure he has done you no harm, and we ought to be his friends.” The men with the clubs could not strike, for they did not want to hurt the child. The king at first did not know what to do. Then he spoke to some of his warriors, and they lifted Smith from the ground. They untied the cords from his wrists and feet, and set him free. The next day the king sent Smith home; and several Indians went with him to protect him from harm. After that, as long as she lived, Pocahontas was the friend of the white men, and she did a great many things to help them.


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12. The Endless Tale

   In the Far East there was a great king who had no work to do. Every day, and all day long, he sat on soft cushions and listened to stories. And no matter what the story was about, he never grew tied of hearing it, even though it was very long. “There is only one fault that I find with your story, he often said: “it is too short.” All the story-tellers in the world were invited to his palace; and some of them told tales that were very long indeed. But the king was always sad when a story was ended. At last he sent word into every city and town and country place, offering a prize to anyone who should tell him an endless tale. He said,----“to the man that will tell me a story which shall last forever, I will give my fairest daughter for his wife; and I w8ill make him my heir, and he shall be king after me.” But this was not all. He added a very hard condition. “If any man shall try to tell such a story and then fail, he shall have his head cut off.” Were many young men in that country who were willing to do anything to with her. But none of them wanted to lose their heads, and so only a few tried for the prize. One young man invented a story that lasted three months; but at the end of that time, he could think of nothing more. His fate was a warning to others, and it was a long time before another story- teller was so rash as to try the king’s patience. But one day a stranger from the south came into the palace. “Great king’ ”he said, “is it true that you offer a prize to the man who can tell a story that has no end?” “it is true,” said the king.  “And shall this man have your fairest daughter for his wife, and shall he be your heir?” “Yes, if he succeeds,” said the king. “But if he fails, he shall lose his head.” Said the king. “But if he fails, he shall lose his head.” “Very well, then,” said the stranger. “I have a pleasant story about locusts which I would like to relate.” “tell it,” said the king. “I will listen to you.” The story- teller began his tale. “once upon a time a certain king seized upon all the corn in his country, and stored it away in a strong granary. But a swarm of locusts came over the land and saw where the grain had been put. After searching for many days they found on the east side of the of the granary a crevice that was just large enough for one locust to pass through at a time. So one locust went in and carried away a grain of corn; then another locust went in and carried away a grain of corn; then another locust went in and carried away a grain of corn.” Day after week, the man kept on saying. “Then another locust went in and carried away a grain of corn.” A month passed; a year passel. At the end of two years, the king said,------“how much longer will the locusts be going in and carrying away corn?” “O king!”  said the story- teller, “they have as yet cleared only one cubit; and there are many thousand cubits in the granary.”  “Man, man!” cried the king, “you will drive me mad. I can listen to it no longer. Take my daughter; be my heir; rule my kingdom. But do not let me hear another word about those horrible locusts!” and so the strange story- teller married the king’s daughter. And he lived happily in the land for many years. But his father- in – law, the king, did not care to listen to any more stories.


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13. Damon and Pythias

A young man whose name was Pythias had done something which the tyrant Dionysius did not like. For this offense he was dragged to prison, and a day was set when he should be put to death. His home was far away, and he wanted very much to see his father and mother and friends before he died. “Only give me leave to go home and say goodbye to those whom I love,” he said, “and then The tyrant laughed at him. “How can I know that you will keep your promise?” he said. “ You only want to cheat me, and save yourself.” Then a young man whose name was Damon spoke and said,-- “O king!put me in prison in place of my friend Pythias, and let him go to his own country to put his affairs in order, and bid his friends farewell. I know that he will come back as he promised, for he is a man who has never broken his word. But if he is not here on the day which you have set, then I will die in his stead.” The tyrant was surprised that anybody should make such and offer. He at last agreed to let pythias go, and gave orders that the young man Damon should be shut up in prison. Time passed, and by and by the drew near which had been set for Pythias to die; and he had not come back. The tyrant ordered the jailer to keep close watch upon Damon, and not let him escape. But Damon did not try to escape. He still had faith in the truth and honor of his friend. He said, “ If Pythias dose not come back in time, it will not be his fault. It will be because he is hindered against his will.” At last the day came, and then the very hour. Damon was ready to die. His trust in his friend was as having to suffer for one whom he loved so much. Then the jailer came to lead him to his death; but at the same moment Pythias stood in the door. He had been delayed by storms and shipwreck, and he had feared that he was too late. He greeted Damon kindly, and then gave himsekf into the hands of the jailer. He was happy because he thought that he had cone in time. Even thought it was at the last moment. The tyrant was not so bad  but that he could see good in others, as did Damom and Pythias. Ought not to suffer unjustly. And so he set them both free. “I would give all my wealth to have one such friend,” he said.


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14.Sir Walter Raleigh

There once lived in England a brave and noble man whose name was Walter Raleigh. He was not only brave and noble, but he was also handsome and polite; and for that reason the queen made him a knight, and called him Sir Walter Raleigh. I will tell you about it. When Raleigh was a young man, he was one day walking along a street in London. At that time the streets were not paved, and there were on sidewalks. Raleigh was dressed in very fine style, and he wore a beautiful scarlet cloak thrown over his shoulders. As he passed along, he found it hard work to keep form stepping in the mud, and soiling his handsome new shoes. Soon he came to a puddle of muddy water which reached from one side of the street to the other. He could not step across. Perhaps he could jump over it. As he was thinking what he should do, he happened to look up. Who was it coming down the street, on the other side of the puddle? It was Elizabeth, the Queen of England, with her train of gentlewomen and waiting-maids. She saw the dirty puddle in the street. She saw the handsome young man with the scarlet cloak, standing by the side of it. How was she to get across? Young Raleigh, when he saw who coming forgot about himself. He thought only of helping the queen. There was only one thing that he could do , and no other man would have thought of that. He took off his scarlet cloak, and spread it across the puddle. The queen could step on it now, as on a beautiful carpet. She walked across. She was safely over the ugly puddle, and her feet had not touched the mud. She paused a moment, and thanked the young man. As she walked onward with her train, she asked one of the gentlewomen, “Who is that brave gentleman who helped us so handsomely?” “His name is Walter Raleigh,” said the queen. Not long after that, she sent for Raleigh to come to her palace. The young man went, but he had no scarlet cloak to wear. Then, while all the great men and fine ladies of England stood around, the queen made him a knight. And from that time he was known as Sir Walter Raleigh, the queen’s favorite. Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Humphrey Gilbert were half-brothers. When Sir humphrey made his first voyage to America, Sir Walter was him. After that, Sir Walter tried several times to send men to that country to make a settlement. But those whom he sent found only great forests, and wild beasts, and savage Indians. Some of them went back to England; some of them died for want of food; and some of them were lost in the woods. At last Sir Walter gave up trying to get people of England knew very little about. One was the potato, the other was tobacco. He told his friends how the Indians used potatoes for food; and he proved that they would grow in the Old World as well as in the New. Sir Walter had seen the Indians smoking the leaves of the tobacco plant. He thought that he would do the same, and he carried some of the leaves to England. Englishmen had never used tobacco before that time; and all who saw Sir Walter puffing away at a roll of leaves thought that it was a strange sight. One day as he was sitting in his chair and smoking, his servant came into the room. The man saw the smoke curling over his master’s head, and he thought that he was on fire. He ran out for some water. He found a pail that was quite full. He hurried back, and threw the water into Sir Walter’s face. Of course the fire was all put out. After that a great many men learned to smoke. And now tobacco is used in all countries of the world. It would have been well if Sir Walter had let it alone.


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15.The Miller of the Dee

Once upon a time there lived on the banks of the River a miller, who was the happiest man in England. He was always busy from morning till night, and he was always singing as merrily as any lark. He was so cheerful that he made everybody else cheerful; and people all over the land liked to talk about his pleasant ways. At last the king heard about him. “I will go down and talk with this wonderful miller.” He said. “Perhaps he can tell me how to be happy.” As soon as he stepped inside of the mill, he heard the miller singing;-- “ I envy nobody—no, not I!-- For I am as happy as I can be; And nobody envies me.” You’re wrong, my friend,” said the king. “You’re wrong as wrong can be. I envy you; and I would gladly change places with you, if I could only be as light-hearted as you are.” The miller smiled, and bowed to the king. “I am sure I could not think of changing places with you, sir.” He said. “Now tell me,” said the king, “what makes you as cheerful and glad here in your dusty mill, while I, who am king, am sad and in trouble every bay.” The miller smiled again, and said, “I do not know why you are sad, but I can easily tell. why I am glad. I earn my own bread; I love my wife and my children; I love my friends, and they love me; and I owe not a penny to any man. Why should I not be happy? For here is the River Dee, and every day it turns my mill; and the mill grinds the corn that feeds my wife, my babes, and me.” “Say no more,” said the king. “Stay where you are, and be happy still. But I envy you. Your dusty cap is worth more for my golden crown. Your mill does more for you than my kingdom can do for me. If there were more such men as you, what a good place this world would be! Good-by, my friend!” The king turned about, and walked sadly away; and the miller went back to his work, singing:-- “ Oh, I’m as happy as happy can be, For I live by the side of the River Dee!"


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16.Doctor Goldsmith

There was once a kind man whose name was Oliver Goldsmith. He wrote many delight-ful books. He had a gentle heart. He was always ready to help others and to share with them anything that he had. He gave away so much to the poor that he was always poor himself. He was sometimes called Doctor Goldsmith; for he had studied to be a physician. One day a poor woman asked Doctor Goldsmith to go and see her husband, who was sick and could not eat. Goldsmith did so. He found that the family was in great need. The man had not had work for a long time. He was not sick, but in distress; and, as for eating, there was no food in the house. “Call at my room this evening,” Goldsmith to the woman, “and I will give you some medicine for your husband.” In the evening the woman called. Goldsmith gave her a little paper box that was very heavy. “Here is the medicine,” he said. “Use it faithfully, and I think it will do your husband a great deal of good. But don’t open the box until you reach home.” “What are the directions for taking it?” asked the woman. “You will find them inside of the box;” he answered. When the woman reached her home, she sat down by her husband’s side, and they opened the box. What do you think they found in it? It was full of pieces of money. And on the top were the directions;--“TO BE TAKEN AS OFTEN AS NECESSITY REQUIRES.” Goldsmith had given them all the ready money that he had.


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17. Bruce and the Spider

There was once a king of Scotland whose name was Robert Bruce. He had Need to be both brave and wise, for the times in which he lived were wild and rude. The king of England was at war with him. And had led a great army into Scotland to drive him out of the land. Battle after battle had been fought. Six times had his led his brave little army against his foes; and six times had his men been beaten, and driven into flight. At last his army was scattered, and he was forced to hide himself in the woods and in lonely places among the mountains. One rainy day, drops lay on the ground under a rude shed, listening to the patter of the drops on the roof above him. He was tired and sick at heart, and ready to give up all hope. It seemed to him that there was no use for him to try to do anything more. As he lay thinking, he saw a spider over his head, making ready to weave her web. He watched her as she toiled slowly and with great care. Six times she tried to throw her frail thread from one beam to another and six times it fell short. “Poor thing!” said Bruce: “you, too, know what it is to fail.” But the spider did not lose hope with the sixth failure. With still more care, she made ready to try for the seventh time. Bruce almost forgot his own troubles as he watched her swing herself out upon the slender line. Would she fail again? No! The thread was carried safely to the beam, and fastened there. “I, too. Will try a seventh time!” cried Bruce. He arose and called his men together. He told them of his plans, and sent them out with messages of cheer to his disheartened people. Soon there was an army of brave Scotchmen around him. Another battle was fought, and the king of England was glad to go back into his own country. I have heard it said that, after that day, no one by the name of Bruce would ever hurt a spider. The lesson which the little creature had taught the king was never forgotten.  


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    18. Julius Caesar

Nearly two thousand years ago there lived in Rome a man whose name was Julius Caesar. He was the greatest of all the Romans. Why was he so great? He was a brave warrior, and had conquered many countries for Rome. He was wise in planning and in doing. He knew how to make men both love and fear him. At last he made himself the ruler of Rome. Some said that he wished to become its king. But the Romans at that time did not believe in kings. Once when Caesar was passing through a little country village, all the men, women, and children of the place, came out to see him. There were not more than fifty of them. All together, and they were led by their mayor, who told each one what to do. These simple people stood by the roadside and watched Caesar pass. The mayor looked very proud and happy; for was he not the ruler of this village? He felt that he was almost as great a man as Caesar himself. Some of the fine officers who were with Caesar laughed. They said, “See how that fellow struts at the head of his little flock!” “Laugh as you will,” said Caesar, “he has reason to be proud. I would rather be the head man of a village than the second man in Rome!” at another time, Caesar was crossing a narrow sea in a boat. Before he was halfway to the farther shore, a storm overtook him. The wind blew hard; the waves dashed high; the lightning flashed; the thunder rolled. It seemed every minute as though the boat would sink. The captain was in great fright. He had crossed the sea many times, but never in such a storm as this. He trembled with fear; he could not guide the boat; he fell down upon his knees; he moaned, “all is lost1 all is lost!” but Caesar was not afraid. He bade the man get up and take his oars again. “Why should you be afraid?” he said. “The boat will not be lost” for you have Caesar on board.”


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   19. The King and His Hawk

 Genghis khan was a great king and warrior. He led his army into china and he conquered many lands. In every country, men told about his daring deeds; and they said that since Alexander the great there had been on king like him. One morning when he was home from the wars, he rode out into the woods to have a day’s sport. Many of his friends were with him. They rode out gaily, carrying their bows and arrows. It was a merry hunting party. The woods rang with their shouts and laughter. They expected to carry much game home in the evening. On the king’s wrist sat his favorite hawk; for in those days hawks were trained to hunt. At a word from their masters they would fly high up into the air, and look around for prey. If they chanced to see a deer of a rabbit, they would swoop down upon it swift as any arrow. All day long Genghis khan and his huntsmen rode through the woods. But they did not find as much game as they expected. Toward evening they started for home. The king had often ridden through the woods. And he knew all the paths. So whiled the rest of the party took the nearest way, he went by a longer the day had been warm. And the king was very thirsty, his pet hawk had left his wrist and flown away. It would be sure to find its way home. The king rode slowly along. He had once seen a spring of clear water neat this pathway. If he could only find it now! But the hot days of summer had dried up all the mountain brooks. At last, to his joy, he saw some water trickling down over the edge of a rock. He knew that there was a spring farther up. In the wet season, a swift stream of water always poured down here; but now it came only one drop at a time. The king leaped from his horse. He took a little silver cup from his hunting bag. He held it so as to catch the slowly falling drops. It took a long time to fill the cup; and the king was so thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly full. He put the cup to his lips, and was about to drink. All at once there was a whirring sound in the air, and the cup was knocked from his hands. The water was all spilled upon the ground. The king looked up to see who had done this thing. It was his pet hawk. The hawk flew back and forth a few times, and then alighted among the rocks by the spring. The king picked up the cup, and again held it to catch the trickling drops. This time he did not wait so long. When the cup was half full. He lifted it toward his mouth. But before it had touched his lips, the hawk swooped down again, and knocked it from his hand s. and now the king began to grow angry. He tried again; and for the third time the hawk kept him from drinking. The king was now very angry indeed. “How do you dare to act so?” he cried. “If I had you in my hands, I would wring your neck!” then he filled the cup again. But before he tried to drink, he drew his sword. “Now, Sir Hawk,” he said, “this is the last time.” He had hardly spoken, before the hawk swooped down and knocked the cup from his hand. But the king was looking for this. With a quick sweep of the sword he struck the bird as it passed. The next moment the poor hawk lay bleeding and dying at its master’s feet. “That is what you get for your pains,” said Genghis khan. But when he looked for his cup, he found that it had fallen between two rocks. Where he could not reach it. “At any rate, I will have a drink from that spring,” he said to himself. With that he began to climb the steep bank to the place from which the water trickled. It was hard work, and the higher he climbed, the thirstier he became. At last he reached the palace. There indeed was a pool of water; but what was that lying in the pool, and almost filling it? It was a huge, dead save of the most poisonous kind. The king stopped. He forgot his thirst. He thought only of the poor dead bird lying on the ground below him. “The hawk saved my life!” he cried; “and how did I repay him? He was my best friend, and I have killed him.” He clambered down the bank. He took the bird up gently, and laid it in his hunting bag. Then he mounted his horse and rode swiftly home. He said to himself,----“I have learned a sad lesson today; and that is, never to do anything in anger.”


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20."Eureka!"

There was once a king of Syracusc whose name was Hiero. The country over which he ruled was quite small, but for that very reason he wanted to wear the biggest crown in a famous goldsmith, who was skillful in all kinds of fine work, and gave him ten ponds of pure gold. “Take this,” he said, “and fashion it into a crown that shall make every king want it for his own.” “Be sure that you put into it every grain of the gold I give you, and do not mix any other metal with it.” “It shall be as you wish,” said the goldsmith. Here I receive from you ten pounds of pure gold; within days I will return to you the finished crown which shall be of exactly the same weight.” Ninety days later, true to his word, the gold-smith brought the crown. It was a beautiful piece of work, and all who saw it said that it gad not its equal in the world. When King Hiero put it on his head it felt very uncomfortable, but he did not min that he was sure sure that no other king had so fine a head-piece. After he had admired it from this side and from that, he weighed it on his own scales. It was exactly as heavy as he had ordered. “You deserve great praise,” he said to the goldsmith. “You have wrought very skillfully and you have not lost a grain of my gold.” There was in the king’s court a very wise man in to admire the king’s crown, he turned it over many times and examined it very closely. “Well, what do you think of it?” asked Hero. “The workmanship is indeed very beautiful,” answered Archimedes, “but the gold “ “The gold is all there,” cried the king. “I weighed it on my own scales.” “True,” said Archimedes, “ but it does not appear to have the same rich red color that it had in the lump. It is not red at all, but a brilliant yellow, as you can plainly see.” “Most gold is yellow,” said Hero; “but now that you speak of it, I do remember that when this was in the lump it had a much richer color.” “What if the goldsmith has kept out a pound or two of the gold and made up the weight by adding brass or silver?” asked Archimedes. “ Oh, he could not do that,” said Hiero; “ the But the more he thought of the matter, the less pleased he was with the crown. At last he said to Archimedes, “Is there any to find out whether that goldsmith really cheated me, or whether he honestly gave me back my gold?” “I know of no way,” was not the man to say that anything was impossible. He took great delight in working out hard problems, and when any question puzzled him, he would keep studying until he found some sort of answer to it. And so, day after day, he thought about the gold and tried to find some way by which it could be tested without doing harm to the crown. One morning he was thinking of this question while he was getting ready for a bath. The great bowl or tub was full to the very edge, and as he stepped into it, a quantity of water flowed out upon the stone floor. A similar thing had happened a hundred times before, but this was the first time that Archimedes had thought about it. "How much water did I displace by getting into the tub?" he asked himself. "Anybody can see that I displaced a bulk of water equal to the bulk of my body. A man half my size would displace half as much. "Now suppose, instead of putting myself into the tub, I had put Hiero's crown into it, it would have displace a bulk of water equal to its own bulk. Ah, let me see! Gold is much heavier than silver. Ten pounds of pure gold will not make so great a bulk as say seven pounds of gold mixed with three pounds of silver. "If Hiero's crown is pure gold it will displace the same bulk of water as any other ten pounds of pure gold. But if it is part gold and part silver it will displace a large bulk. I have it at last! Eureka! Eureka!" Forgetful of everything else he leaped from the bath. Without stopping to dress himself, he ran through the streets to the king's palace, shouting "Eureka! Eureka! Eureka!" which in English means, "I have found it! I have found it!" The crown was tested. It was found to displace more water than ten pounds of pure gold displaced. The guilt of the goldsmith was proved beyond a doubt. But whether he was punished or not, I do not know, neither does it matter. The simple discovery which Archimedes made in his bath tub was worth far more to the world than Hiero's crown.


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21.      William Tell

 The people of Switzerland were not always free and happy as they are today. Many years ago a proud tyrant, whose name was Gessler, ruled over them, and made their lot a bitter one indeed. One day this tyrant set up a tall pole in the public square, and put his own cap on the top of it ; and then he gave orders that every man who came into the town should bow down before it. But there was one man, named William tell, who would not do this. He stood up straight with folded arms, and laughed at the swinging cap. He would not bow down to Gessler himself. When Gessler heard of this, he was very angry. He was afraid that other men would disobey, and that soon the whole country would rebel against him. So he made up his mind to punish the bold man. William Tell’s home was among the mountains, and he was a famous hunter. No one in all the land could shoot with bow and arrow so well as he. Gessler knew this, and so he thought of a cruel plan to make the hunter’s own skill bring him to grief. He ordered that Tell’s little boy should be made to stand up in the public square with an apple on his head; and then he bade tell shoot the apple with one of his arrows. Tell begged the tyrant not to have him make this test of his skill. What if the boy should move? What if the bowman’s hand should tremble? What if the arrow should not carry true? “Will you make me kill my boy?” he said. “Say no more,” said Gessler. “You must hit the apple with your one arrow. If you fail, my soldiers shall kill the boy before your eyes.” Then, without another word, tell fitted the arrow to his bow. He took, aim, and let it fly. The boy stood firm and still. He was not afraid, for he had all faith in his father’s skill. The arrow whistled through the air, it struck the apple fairly in the center, and carried it away. The apple fairly in the center, and carried it away. The people who saw it shouted with joy. As tell was turning away from the place, an arrow which he had hidden under his coat dropped to the ground. “Fellow!” cried Geesler, “what mean you with this second arrow?” “Tyrant!” was Tell’s proud answer, “this arrow was for your heart it I had hurt my child.” And there is an old story, that, not long after this, tell did shoot the tyrant with one of his arrows; and thus he set his country free.


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22.Galileo and the Lamps

In Italy about three hundred years ago there lived a young man whose name was Galileo. Like Archimedes, he was always thinking and always asking the reasons for things. He invented the thermometer and simple forms of the telescope and the microscope. He made many important discoveries in science. One evening when he was only eighteen years old he was in the cathedral at Pisa at about the time the lamps were lighted. The lamps---which burned only oil in those days—were hung by long rods from the ceiling. When the lamplighter knocked against them, or the wind blew through the cathedral, they would swing back and forth like pendulums. Galileo noticed this. Then be began to study them more closely. He saw that those which were hung on rods of the same length swung back and forth, or vibrated, in the same length of time. Those that were on the shorter rods vibrated much faster than those on the longer rods. As Galileo watched them swinging to and fro he became much interested. Millions of people had seen lamps moving in this same way, but not one had ever thought of discovering any useful fact connected with the phenomenon. When Galileo went to his room he began to experiment. He took a number of cords of different lengths and hung them from the ceiling. To the free end of each cord he fastened a weight. Then he set all to swinging back and forth, like the lamp in the cathedral. Each cord was a pendulum, just as each rod had been. He found after long study that when a cord was 39 1/10 inches long, it vibrated just sixty times in a minute. A cord one fourth as long vibrated just twice as fast, or once every half second. To vibrate three times as fast, or once in every third part of a second, the cord had to be only one ninth of 39 1/10 inches in length. By experimenting in various ways Galileo at last discovered how to attach pendulums to timepieces as we have them now. Thus, to the swinging lamps in the cathedral, and to Galileo’s habit of thinking and inquiring, the world owes one of the commonest and most useful of inventions, --the pendulum clock. You can make a pendulum for yourself with a cord and a weight of any kind. You can experiment with it if you wish; and perhaps you can find out how long a pendulum must be to vibrate once in two seconds.

 


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23.Mignon

Here is the story of Mignon as I remember having read it in a famous old book.

A young man named Wilhelm was staying at an inn in the city. One day as he was going upstairs he met a little girl coming down. He would have taken her for a boy, if it had not been for the long curls of black fair wound about her head. As she ran by, he caught her in his arms and asked her to whom she belonged. He felt sure that she must be one of the ropedancers who had just come to the inn. She gave him a sharp, dark look, slipped out of his arms, and ran away without speaking.

The next tine he saw her, Wilhelm spoke to her again.

“ Do not be afraid of me, little one,” he said kindly. “ What is your name?”

“ They call me Mignon,” said the child.

“ How old are you?” he asked.

“No one has counted,” the child answered.

Wilhelm went on; but he could not help wondering about the child, and thinking of her dark eyes and strange ways.

One day not long after that, there was a great outcry among the crowd that was watching the ropedancers. Wilhelm went down to fund out what was the matter.

He saw that the master of the dancers was beating little Mignon with a stick. He ran and held the man by the collar. “ Let the child alone! ” he cried. “ If you touch her again, one of us shall never leave this spot.” The man tried to get loose; but Wilhelm held him fast. The child crept away, and hid herself in the crowd. “ Pay me what her clothes cost,” cried the rope-dancer at last, “ and you may take her.” As soon as all was quiet, Wilhelm went to look for Mignon; for she now belonged to him. But he could not find her, and it was not until the ropedancers had left the town that she came to him. “ Where have you been? ” asked Wilhelm in his kindest tones; but the child did not speak. “ You are to live with me now, and you must be a good child,” he said. “ I will try,” said Mignon gently. From that time she tried to do all that she could for Wilhelm and his friends. She would let no one wait on him but herself. She would let no one wait Anaheim but herself. She was often seen going to a basin of water to wash from her face going to a basin of water to wash from her face the paint with which the rope-dancers had reddened her cheeks: indeed, she nearly rubbed off the skin in trying to wash away its fine brown tint, which she thought was some beep dye. Mignon grew lovelier every day. She never walked up and down the stairs, but jumped. Showed spring by the railing, and before you knew it, would be sitting quietly above on the landing. To each one she would speak in a different way. To Wilhelm it was with her arms crossed upon her breast. Often for a whole day she would not say one word, and yet in waiting upon Wilhelm she never tired,. One night he came home very weary and sad. Mignon was waiting for him. She carried the light before him upstairs.  She carried the upon the table; and in a little while she asked him if she might dance. “It might ease your heart a little,” she said. Wilhelm, to please her, told her that she might. Then she brought a little carpet, and spread it upon the floor. At each cornet, she placed a candle, and on the carpet she put a number of eggs, she arranged the eggs in the form of certain figures. When this was done, she called to a man who was waiting with a violin, She tied a band about her eyes, and then the dancing began. How lightly, quickly, nimbly, wonderfully, she moved! She skipped so fast among the eggs, she trod so closely beside them, that you would have thought she must crush them all. But not one of them did she touch. With all kinds of steps she passed among them. Not one of them was moved from its place. Wilhelm forgot all his cares. He watched every motion of the child. He almost forgot who and where he was. When the dance was ended, Mignon rolled the eggs together with her foot into a little heap. Not one was left behind not one was harmed Then she took the band from her eyes, and made a little bow. Wilhelm thanked her for showing him a dance that was so wonderful and pretty He praised her, petted her, and hoped that she had not tired herself too much. W hen she had gone from the room, the had taken to teach him the music of the care she had taken to teach him the music of the dance. He told how she had sung it to him over and over again. He told how she had even wished to pay him with her own money for learning to play it for her There was yet another way in which Mignon tried to please Wilhelm, and make him forget his cares. She sang to him. The song which he liked best was one whose words he had never heard before. Its music, too, was strange to him, and yet it pleased him very much. He asked her to speak the words over and over again. He wrote them down; but the sweetness of the tune was more delightful than the words. The song began in this way:--"Do you know the land where citrons, lemons, glow, And oranges under the green leaves glow?" Once, when she had ended the song, she said again, "Do you know the land?" "It must be Italy," said Wilhelm. "Have you ever been there?" The child did not answer.

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